BEAN Minneapolis Blog
Just like you would not do a half-ass job in other arenas in your life, you need to take volunteering projects seriously. The more you put into it, the more you will get out. I guarantee it. Here are some DOs and DON'Ts to look out for at your next volunteering project.
DO RSVP Ahead of the Time
The groups organizing these volunteering events usually need a reasonably accurate count so they can plan how much could be done, how much supply to provide, etc. If you don't RSVP and just crash the project because "My friend's going and I am just going to tag along", there might not be anything for you to do. It's just an unnecessary headache for the organizer.
DON'T Flake Out or Show Up Late
Did you totally mean to go to the project, but you were too hung over, or it was raining or you had a long week? Well, get your ass up and go! They are counting on you, and if you flake out or show up late, people who need help and projects that need to be worked on will go untended. It's all about managing your priorities, and shouldn't your commitment to help trump almost everything else?
DO Carpool If Possible
Carpooling is a good idea normally, but it's especially a good idea for volunteering projects. You can show up with a group of people you already know, it's a hedge against showing up late, and it's also a hedge against leaving early.
DON'T Be a Loner
When you are at the volunteering event, don't hide out in the corner and do your own thing. You are contributing toward the common good with other likeminded and passionate people. Mingle a little. It's great networking as well. Just don't let all the yapping get in the way of working.
DO Take Photos/Videos and Share Them
People take pictures and videos everywhere, yet many people feel reluctant to do so at volunteering projects. Bring you camera and share the moments. If you are comfortable with pictures of you being wasted at some party, you should be comfortable with proof that you are a decent human being who cares about others.
DON'T Drink on the Job
Many charity fundraisers will serve drinks. That's for the guests! If you are paying and bidding on things, then by all means, booze away. But, if you are there as a volunteer, trying to help that organization raise money from the guests, it will not help the event's success if you get wasted and go streaking through the dining hall. Save the drinking for after the event with your fellow volunteers.
DO Learn More about the Organization
Since you are there to help, find out more about what it is that you are helping with. Ask about the organization mission, history and goals. You will be a lot more satisfied with pulling up weeds in a park if you know that English Ivy is an invasive plant originally planted because it's pretty, and now this organization is partnering with the city to remove them and re-introduce native plants to restore habitats for migrating birds.
DON'T Ignore the Training or the Release Forms
The release forms and the training for a volunteering event exist for a reason. They are there to protect both you and the organization putting together the event. Sign the release form so that if you accidently stab yourself with a gardening sheer, the organization you are trying to help don't go bankrupt instead. Pay attention at the safety training will ensure that you don't stab yourself with a gardening sheer.
DO Plan to Stay the Whole Time
A lot of the times, people only plan to stay for an hour out of a three hour volunteering events. This is extremely annoying to the organizer, because there is then nobody left to do the work at the end of the event. If you could only attend a part of the event, you should definitely let the organizer know beforehand. In fact, try to attend the latter part if you only attend a part of it. Better yet, stay for the whole thing!
DON'T Just Slink Away at the End of the Project
Did you have a good time at the event? Good! Why just get in your car and drive away. Why not suggest to the people you meet to grab a drink, have some lunch or just to hang out. It's a lot easier to meet new people in this time of casual environment, especially since you just work side by side toward a good common cause. Take the next step and swap contact info as well. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!
So, do volunteering projects sound like your cup of tea? Definitely check out BEAN then, the perfect group for young professionals looking for casual, fun and one-off volunteering projects.